“Phidias made detailed drawings of horses heads”
The Knights as a symbol have come to represent the virtues of chivalry with their mane and tail exquisitely sculpted and flowing in the breeze. Their features have been delicately accented in the Staunton
Chess set. Phidias was the sculptor who worked on the Parthenon and is considered the greatest sculptor of
ancient Greece. He was also an architect, painter, designer and mathematician.
Grecian statues were designed in accordance with a set of mathematical proportions and Phidias’s supreme masterpiece was the Parthenon of Athens. He received his commission to build this edifice from the Athenian statesman Pericles. The
temple of the Parthenon honored Athene, the goddess of Athens.
As superintendent of public works he had a team of architects,
stone cutters and sculptors under his command. He
personally supervised the construction of the statue
Athene Chryselephantine, (meaning Athene encrusted with
ivory and gold), measuring 40 feet high and placed at
the center of this building.
Phidias made detailed drawings of horses heads from which the traditional
Knight of the Staunton Chess set was used as a model. If he were alive today he would surely be surprised to find millions of boys and girls using a symbol of which he was the inventor.
The grandeur and drama of his creations were not to be excelled until Brunelleschi and Michelangelo made their appearance in the firmament of the Renaissance universe. Phidiass supreme masterpiece (King of the Gods, the Olympian Zeus) was heralded as one of the
seven wonders of the ancient world.
It measured 42 feet high and stood in the temple for nearly a thousand years until its removal by Emperor Theodosius-I of Constantinople.